breakfast, Middle Eastern/Turkish, Salads and Vegetables

Shakshouka

Riding on the theme of tomatoes again, I made shakshouka. Such a fun dish to pronounce. But also very easy to make and so delicious.

I tried making it twice. First time in a pyrex dish and baked in the oven. And the second time over the stove. I prefer the second method. It’s easier, and I can control the eggs better.

It seriously is a very simple dish to make. Again, I used tinned tomatoes. And for depth, smoked paprika, cumin (ground), coriander (ground), dried mint. And of course sea salt and a pinch of sugar. Next time, I will use a spoonful of jarred harissa. The trick is to add plenty of other vegetables so it doesn’t just become a tomato soup. I added chopped capsicums and mushrooms to this shakshouka.

And to serve, a huge dollop of Greek yogurt. That really elevated the dish! I copied this from a café I tried shakshouka from. Except that they used sour cream instead of Greek Yogurt. I prefer the yogurt (friendlier to the waist too!). Sprinkle lots of Italian parsley on top to serve.

It’s best eaten with slices of sourdough bread, but I didn’t have any so just regular toasts work just as fine.

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Asian Dishes, Middle Eastern/Turkish, Salads and Vegetables, Sides

Haloumi Tomato Sticks

Such a simple recipe (in fact, not even a recipe!) but so delightful and delicious.

Cut haloumi into squares, fry them till very brown in olive oil, and skewer them with cherry tomatoes. Just before serving, place skewers on a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil, and bake for about only 5 minutes.

I am so going to make this my signature dish to bring for family events! See how pretty it sits together with the other potluck dishes 🙂

breakfast, Middle Eastern/Turkish

Labneh

Somehow I stumbled upon a site which touts making your own cream cheese. And then I started googling and searching more about labneh – or strained yogurt. 

Apparently it’s a staple breakfast dish of the Arabs and hence I thought I’d try making some for the family.

The process was really simple. Just a tub of yogurt, some salt and a muslin or cheese cloth. 

   

pour the yogurt and salt mixture in the muslin cloth over a sieve and bowl

  
 

tie it up tightly into a ball and leave it to strain in the fridge for a day

 

this is after 24 hours in the fridge

 

roll out the mixture into a clean well covered bowl

 

served here with olive oil and zaatar

 
   Mind you, labneh is sour. I am going to try different flavoured labneh later. 

Updated the next day

Breakfast this morning…a sweet version! (It still is sour, though)

  

 

  

Middle Eastern/Turkish, Rice

Smoking rice

Making any flavoured Arabic or Indian style rice, I discovered a few years ago that smoking them will give them an even more intense flavour and really bring life to it. I’ve tried one day cooking two batches of rice- the first smoked. The first batch received so many praises from my guests but when they were all gone, I had to serve the second batch. There was a marked difference. The taste of the rice mind you is the same. Same recipe same rice. But somehow when you smoke the rice…

Let me show you how to smoke the rice. It’s very simple. In a small bowl line it with aluminium foil. Heat a piece of charcoal till its flaming red. Place it in your aluminium bowl. Then, pour a small amount of ghee or butter on the coal and you will immediately see a big billow of smoke. Using thongs carefully place the bowl in your rice cooker. Cover the steam holes of your rice cooker so that the smoke do not escape. Leave for ten minutes and then remove. The rice will taste sensational. This only works for any Arabic or Indian type of rice; I strongly do not recommend Chinese rice like chicken rice for this 🙂

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Meat, Middle Eastern/Turkish, Soups

Harira

I wished I had discovered this soup earlier. This is such a tasty, lovely, tomato-ey soup which everyone I served that day slurped it up dry.

On Mothers’ Day, I invited my family over and made harira, moussaka, a salad and tiramisu for lunch.

This harira recipe I got off the internet and they are basically the same ingredients: blended onions, lots of finely chopped fresh coriander and parsley, paprika (I used smoked), black pepper, powdered ginger, black pepper, salt, tomato sauce (a bottle of passata works perfectly), tomato paste/puree, meat cubes (I used brisket), lentils, chickpeas, vermicelli, water,  and a mixture of flour and water paste to thicken.

My version that day was without the chickpeas and I made my soup slightly thicker so that they could dunk it with toasted bread. This is a Moroccan dish, one of their national dishes I think, and I have influenced at least two colleagues to cook this dish, one of whom made it two days consecutively for dinner.

Harira Soup in the tureen
The Mothers’ Day spread. Mommy brought beautifully baked salmon and dill rice. I forgot to place the salad plate for the table but it had beautiful yellow, orange and red baby capsicums.